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Gray announces veteran campaign team for D.C. mayoral bid

Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray has announced his campaign team, a list that includes numerous veterans of local and national political efforts.

Gray, who so far doesn't have a big campaign account, appears to be sending a signal that he has quickly put together a real campaign that will be a serious threat to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D), who has about $3.5 million in the bank.

Lorraine Green, a vice-president for Amtrak and a former deputy director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, will be Gray's campaign chairman.

Adam Rubinson, who served as deputy chief technology officer for former Mayor Anthony Williams, will serve as Gray's campaign manager. Rubinson does not have recent campaign management experience, but served as U.S. Rep. Nita Lowery's (D-NY) campaign manager in 1990, according to Gray associates.

Mo Elleithee, one of the architects behind U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner and former Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's rise to power in Virginia from 2001 through 2009, will be a senior advisor. Elleithee also served as Secretary of State's Hillary Clinton's senior spokesman and traveling press secretary during her 2008 presidential bid.

Traci Hughes, a former communications director of the D.C. Police Department, will be Gray's press secretary.

Steve McMahon and Tom Ochs, of McMahon, Squier & Associates, will be Gray's media consultants. McMahon has worked on on three presidential campaigns and dozens of Senate, gubernatorial and mayoral campaigns.

Ron Lester, a veteran Democratic pollster, will do Gray's polling. In 1990, Lester helped former Mayor Sharon Pratt pull off her upset victory in the mayor's race.

Andrew Kennedy, of Kennedy Communications, will handle Gray's direct mail. Kennedy's biography includes work in more than 27 states.

Ian Koski, who has worked for President Obama and Maryland Gov. Martin J. O'Malley (D), will handle Gray's new media strategy.

Gray has also retained Potomac Waves, a media company that specializes in reaching out to minority voters. The company is well-known for its radio ads that target black and Hispanic voters, signaling that Gray will try to take advantage of Fenty's unpopularity within the African-American community.

Stephanie Reich, who former Council Chairwoman Linda Cropp's chief of staff, will be Gray's personal assistant.

Gray said he will be making additional staff announcements in the coming weeks.

"This team, along with countless volunteers who have already joined our campaign, share my commitment to restoring character, integrity and leadership to the mayor's office," Gray said. "I look forward to spending the next few months taking that message directly to the people of the District."

--Tim Craig

By Tim Craig  |  April 21, 2010; 1:29 PM ET
Categories:  2010 District Election , Mayor Fenty , Tim Craig  
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Next: Rivals Fenty, Gray team up on Capitol Hill to seek federal money


I really wish Gray would stay as Council Chair. I think he can do more good there than he can as Mayor. I like Gray, but I think he will give in to the unions, undo the progress that Rhee has done with the schools-- or worse, get rid of Rhee. Gray is part of the old school. We need to keep moving forward, not take steps back.

Posted by: Aimhigh2000 | April 21, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

So Gray picks someone who runs the Federal hiring process, and a company that bleeds money year after year. Looks like Fenty is going to be around a while.

Posted by: poopieface | April 21, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Gray has signed considerable dead wood here regardless of the hyperbole.

A campaign manager with no campaign management experience, can you say Cropp 06? Was Phyllis busy?

Mo Elleithee, who"? Mame Reily must be surprised to see herself so demoted. Can we expect the same kind of arrogance here we witnessed in her last escapade for Terry McAuliffe? This whole mess reeks of McAuliffe by the way.

Stephanie Reich has the personality of a tree stump and had the seemingly impossible effect of making Linda Cropp appear nasty, aloof and indifferent. She comes from the Jeff Smith school of having as one's number one priority the assertion that one is more important then anyone else. She was a complete drag on Cropp's office staff and campaign.

Traci Hughes as in "Ramsey is lying through his teeth"? That should be a bastion of credibility for the media.

Telling that McMahon et al would be working on a fourth tier enterprise such as this. Vince is no Howard Dean. I wonder if Trippi is hiding in the wings with his hand out.

Ron Lester whose experience is in the days before computers?

Well, the folks at Fenty's campaign must be breathing a sigh of relief. As for the Mayor, he should book a quick flight to Vegas as this is the 2nd luckiest day of his life.

A candidate who cannot articulate any vision assembles a team of expensive hacks and has beens. If this bodes of a Gray mayoralty I guess I'll support Fenty or maybe Donahue Peebles.

Posted by: SoCali | April 21, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

OK "undo the progress that Rhee has done with the schools-- or worse, get rid of Rhee"

What progress has Rhee made? None! She has managed to turn the whole school reform into a three ring circus all by her self.

"Gray is part of the old school. We need to keep moving forward, not take steps back."

Ummm what makes Gray apart of the old school? Really? Is it because he's an older black male, therefore he must be apart of the old way of thinking. If anyone is closer to the old school it's Fenty who seems to be taking us back to the control board days. Please also keep in mind that William Lightfoot(Fenty's Campagin Manager) goes back some years within D.C's ole school circle too.

Posted by: thelildiva4u | April 21, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Way to bring the big guns, Chairman Gray. Now, onward to victory!!

Posted by: schooletal | April 21, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Craig, your editorializing is laughable, but sad: He "appears to be sending a signal that he has quickly put together a real campaign that will be a serious threat to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty" What? Really? How so?

He announced his candidacy 3 weeks ago and had been talking about running for months prior to that. How is he only NOW announcing his team? This should have been rolled out the same day as his announcement or the next day at the latest. Do we need to wait another 3 weeks to learn where he stands on some issues? I know he's not Fenty. I get that, but what does he stand for? Don’t the voters need to know that before he can viewed as a real candidate or a threat to anyone?

Posted by: erkab202 | April 21, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

A "veteran" campaign team speaks volumes. Are they "veteran" as in they actually buoyed a candidate to victory...or are they "veteran" as in they kept propping up a nonviable candidate?

I do not know what it takes to get elected in DC, but I wish it had something to do with the candidate's demonstration of integrity, accountability, fiscal responsibility, and resolve to ameliorate DC's major issues. If I wanted to vote in a popularity contest, I would keep voting for my top friends on Facebook.

Posted by: alamero1 | April 22, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

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